Bob McDermott | Gay Marriage | Hawaii | Neil Abercrombie | News

Governor to Sign Hawaii Marriage Bill Today, Watch LIVE; Judge to Rule on Challenge Tomorrow

AbercrombieHawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie plans to sign the Hawaii marriage equality bill this morning at 10 am HST/3 pm ET. You can watch it live HERE. A large crowd is expected.

Hawaii will be the 15th state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage and the law is expected to take effect on December 2.

In the past three weeks, two other states have also become marriage equality states, New Jersey and Illinois, the 14th and 16th, respectively, if order is determined by when the laws take effect.

However, expect challenges before then. We've already reported on wingnut lawmaker Bob McDermott and the lawsuit he has filed which claims that in 1998 when Hawaii passed a constitutional amendment voters thought they were voting for one man/one woman marriage rather than allowing the legislature to decide on what constitutes a marriage.

McdermottKHON says that Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto is expected to rule on that this week:

...opponents are counting on Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto to stop the law from taking effect. On Thursday, he's expected to rule on a court order that could stop the state from issuing wedding licenses for same-sex couples on the basis that the people already voted against same-sex marriage in a constitutional amendment in 1998.

"The vote the people made back in 1998 when they basically ratified the amended Constitution by virtually 70 percent in favor," said John Dwyer, attorney for Rep. McDermott.

If the judge grants the court order then another trial will be scheduled that could essentially strike down the same-sex marriage law.

But the state Attorney General says the 1998 constitutional amendment gave the legislature authority to change the law and so the same-sex marriage will be upheld.

Watch a report on the bill's passage in the Senate, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. There are 2 big problems with McDermott's frivolous lawsuit: The 70 percent in favor was in 1998. A lot has changed since then, except in the homophobes' minds. More importantly, the wording of the constitutional amendment was perfectly clear.

    "A 'Yes' vote would add a new provision to the constitution that would give the legislature the power to reserve marriage to opposite sex couples only."

    The amendment did not strip away the power of elected representatives to include gay couples in marriage. If the anti-gay people of Hawaii are unable to comprehend English, that's their problem. The only power they have is in the next election.

    Congratulations, Hawaii!

    Posted by: Ernie | Nov 13, 2013 7:19:18 AM

  2. now all i need is a husband...

    any russians out there who would like to spend the next decade with a poor but highly intelligent old gent who lives in hawai'i and might need some looking after for the next few years?

    Posted by: bandanajack | Nov 13, 2013 7:45:33 AM

  3. Citing ignorance of the law in your defense doesn't sway a judge. Citing ignorance of the bill you voted for shouldn't either. That's why you need to educate your own self and not rely on Faux News or your church for all your information.

    Posted by: AggieCowboy | Nov 13, 2013 8:42:28 AM

  4. Citing ignorance of the law in your defense doesn't sway a judge. Citing ignorance of the bill you voted for shouldn't either. That's why you need to educate your own self and not rely on Faux News or your church for all your information.

    Posted by: AggieCowboy | Nov 13, 2013 8:42:29 AM

  5. I understand the Cons aren't upset by this because they don't know that Hawaii is a state.

    Posted by: 1♥ | Nov 13, 2013 9:04:45 AM

  6. Nothing would surprise me about Hawaii. This is a DEEP BLUE state, yet opponents of marriage equality came off as Tea Party Patriots! There was also this scenario in which an out and proud lesbian Rep. Jo Jordan voted AGAINST marriage equality. That was a first. Her response as to why she would do this to her own community was so rambling and incoherent it made that beauty pagent contestant from a few years back seem bright and articulate. The waters of Hawai'i are beautiful...but you have to wonder what's in it.

    Posted by: Stuart Wyman-Cahall | Nov 13, 2013 9:47:28 AM

  7. Bob McDermott's unstated argument: "Right-wing, antigay religious nuts were too stupid to realize that if the people gave the legislature the right to limit marriage to opposite sex couples, they were also giving the legislature the right to not limit marriage to opposite sex couples. Thus the court should rule in favor of these stupid people who are gullible enough to believe the lies antigay religious groups have been feeding them."

    Posted by: john patrick | Nov 13, 2013 9:50:08 AM

  8. The question is, how will the word "only" be interpreted in regards to the language in Hawaii's constitution.

    Is it "reserve marriage to opposite sex couples only" or reserve marriage to opposite sex couples, only". One comma could make a big difference. If the judge interprets it in the second way then I can see a ruling against us.

    I wonder...does Hawaii have a process similar to the ballot initiatives we're seeing in regards to the trans bill being attacked in California? Meaning, can bigots attempt to repeal this law by public referendum? Thanks in advance.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Nov 13, 2013 10:08:45 AM

  9. I'm not surprised by the ugliness we've seen out of Hawaii, Stuart. There are some major religious forces in Hawaii. Mormons, Catholics in particular. Hawaii isn't as liberal a state as some think it is, in fact it's quite traditionalist in many ways.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Nov 13, 2013 10:17:34 AM

  10. I support the older definition of marriage and I think this particular lawsuit is frivolous.

    Posted by: MT Worley | Nov 13, 2013 11:16:16 AM

  11. Francis,

    The actual text of the amendment does not include the word "only". Rather it said, "Shall the Constitution of the State of Hawai'i be amended to specify that the legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples?"

    I think the phrasing that included the word "only" was just a mailer that was sent to voters beforehand that listed the different amendments that they would be voting on.

    Also, Hawai'i law does not provide for ballot initiatives or referenda initiated by voters. And you're right, in Hawai'i even conservatives frequently choose to run as Democrats because the GOP brand has been anathema to most voters for generations.

    Posted by: rakihi | Nov 13, 2013 12:41:38 PM

  12. You can't say for sure how any judge will rule, but I also take some comfort from looking at the brief resume section of (yes, there is such a thing!), which notes the following about Judge Sakamoto:

    "Prior to his appointment, Sakamoto worked as a deputy public defender, an associate in the civil litigation section of a private law firm, and as a senior attorney and deputy executive director for the state Civil Rights Commission."

    Of course a judge's background isn't determinative but it makes me happier than reading something like "he was a former Mormon bishop and head of 'Hawaiians for Bush.'" :-)

    Posted by: Buster | Nov 13, 2013 2:28:59 PM

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